Ilex Paraguayensis

Botanical Name ; Ilex Paraguayensis
Family: Aquifoliaceae
Genus: Ilex
Species: I. paraguariensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Aquifoliales

Synonyms: Paraguay Herb. Paraguay. Maté. Ilex Maté. Yerba Maté. Houx Maté. Jesuit’s Tea. Brazil Tea. Gón gouha.

Common Names : Paraguay Tea

Habitat:  Ilex Paraguayensis is native to  Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay.

Edible Uses: It is well known as the source of the beverage called mate, Chimarrão, Tererê (or Tereré) and other variations, traditionally consumed in subtropical South America, particularly northeastern Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Description:
Yerba mate, Ilex paraguariensis, begins as a shrub and then matures to a tree and can grow up to 15 metres (49 ft) tall. The leaves are evergreen, 7–11 cm long and 3–5.5 cm wide, with a serrated margin. The leaves are often called yerba (Spanish) or erva (Portuguese), both of which mean “herb”. They contain caffeine (known in some parts of the world as mateine) and also contains related xanthine alkaloids and are harvested commercially.

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The flowers are small, greenish-white, with four petals. The fruit is a red drupe 4–6 mm in diameter.

It was first used and cultivated by the Guaraní people and in some Tupí communities in southern Brazil, prior to the European colonization. It was scientifically classified by the Swiss botanist Moses Bertoni, who settled in Paraguay in 1895

Cultivation:
The Yerba mate plant is grown and processed in South America, specifically in northern Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones), Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and Mato Grosso do Sul). Cultivators are known as yerbateros (Spanish) or ervateiros (Brazilian Portuguese).

Seeds used to germinate new plants are harvested from January until April only after they have turned dark purple. After harvest, they are submerged in water in order to eliminate floating non-viable seeds and detritus like twigs, leaves, etc. New plants are started between March and May. For plants established in pots, transplanting takes place April through September. Plants with bare roots are transplanted only during the months of June and July.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used: Leaves.
Constituents:  Fresh leaves dried at Cambridge were found to contain caffeine, tannin, ash and insoluble matter.

Tonic, diuretic, diaphoretic, and powerfully stimulant. In large doses it causes purging and even vomiting.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/p/partea05.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilex_paraguarie

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